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Belfast man threatened partner with same fate as murder victim, court is told

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Murdered: Natasha Melendez

Murdered: Natasha Melendez

Murdered: Natasha Melendez

A serial domestic abuser who allegedly threatened his partner with scissors told her she would "end up like Natasha Melendez", a court has heard.

The 32-year-old Venezuelan was murdered in her Lisburn home earlier this month.

Yesterday the city's Magistrates Court heard allegations that Daniel Milligan (33) threatened his partner with the same fate.

Milligan, with an address on the Antrim Road in north Belfast, is charged with six offences including making a threat to kill, four counts of assault, and possessing scissors with intent to commit GBH.

All are alleged to have been committed on Easter Sunday.

A detective said she believed she could connect Milligan to the offences and police were objecting to him being freed on bail.

She revealed that Milligan's partner had been deemed as "high risk" and that the defendant was a "serial perpetrator of domestic violence" who had served a jail sentence after he used scissors and then clippers to shave the head of his previous partner.

The detective described how officers were called to an address on Mercer Street in Lisburn on Sunday after the complainant made a 999 call that Milligan had "threatened to kill her".

"She was reluctant for police to call, saying that would make the situation worse," said the detective, adding that police attended and arrested Milligan.

She said the woman has told them "that things will be 10 times worse now that the police are involved".

Following Milligan's arrest the alleged victim made a statement to police that she had been in a relationship with him since he was freed from jail last July but that he "had been abusive from the start and she was subjected to violence on an almost daily basis".

The woman also claimed she was being "financially controlled" and Milligan has put images of her on the internet.

In relation to the alleged incident on Sunday when she reported the assault, the detective told the court how it was the police case that Milligan punched her, kicked her in the jaw, "wrapped his arms around her neck so she struggled to breathe, resulting in her suffering an asthma attack" and threatened that "she would end up the same way as" Natasha Melendez.

When he was arrested Milligan was "aggressive and irate to police".

The detective said that during interviews he denied threatening to kill her, denied assaulting her and although he initially denied that he held financial control over her, he later admitted that he "controlled the finances of the house", which was why he had her bank card.

Milligan also denied he had uploaded photographs of her on the internet or that he had been paid for them. He counter-claimed that opposite to her account, she had attacked him with the scissors which he had taken from her.

Turning to bail objections, the detective described Milligan as "volatile and dangerous... likely to seek retribution" if freed, highlighting his 94 previous convictions including entries for assault, the fact that he is under prison licence from an earlier sentence and has also breached court orders in the past.

"Police do not feel there are any conditions that could be put in place which would protect this vulnerable woman," the detective said.

Defence barrister Joel Lindsay conceded that while Milligan did have convictions for domestic abuse, "he is saying it's very easy to make allegations against me, she knows my history".

He claimed that Milligan's partner "has a lengthy suspended sentence for assault" and that, according to Milligan, she is claiming she was attacked "so that she isn't investigated for attempting to stab him and it allows her to apply for a house", further claiming that Milligan has injuries which are "consistent" with his account.

Refusing to free Milligan, District Judge Amanda Henderson said: "While I'm not trying the case, I cannot ignore this very significant record, the very serious allegations that have been made and domestic violence history."

Milligan was remanded into custody and the case relisted for May 11.

Belfast Telegraph